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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11110

Title: Power and Process: The Politics of Electricity Sector Reform in Uganda
Authors: Gore, Christopher D.
Advisor: Stren, Richard
Department: Political Science
Keywords: Uganda
policy
energy
governance
East Africa
public sector reform
Issue Date: 28-Jul-2008
Abstract: In 2007, Uganda had one of the lowest levels of access to electricity in the world. Given the influence of multilateral and bilateral agencies in Uganda; the strong international reputation and domestic influence of its President; the country’s historic achievements in public sector and economic reform; and the intimate connection between economic performance, social well-being and access to electricity, the problems with Uganda’s electricity sector have proven deeply frustrating and, indeed, puzzling. Following increased scholarly attention to the relationship between political change, policymaking, and public sector reform in sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world generally, this thesis examines the multilevel politics of Uganda’s electricity sector reform process. This study contends that explanations for Uganda’s electricity sector reform problems generally, and hydroelectric dam construction efforts specifically, must move beyond technical and financial factors. Problems in this sector have also been the result of a model of reform (promoted by the World Bank) that failed adequately to account for the character of political change. Indeed, the model of reform that was promoted and implemented was risky and it was deeply antagonistic to domestic and international civil society organizations. In addition, it was presented as a linear, technical, apolitical exercise. Finally the model was inconsistent with key principles the Bank itself, and public policy literature generally, suggest are needed for success. Based on this analysis, the thesis contends that policymaking and reform must be understood as deeply political processes, which not only define access to services, but also participation in, and exclusion from, national debates. Future approaches to reform and policymaking must anticipate the complex, multilevel, non-linear character of ‘second-generation’ policy issues like electricity, and the political and institutional capacity needed to increase the potential for success. At the heart of this approach is a need to carefully consider how the character of state-society relations in the country – “governance” – will influence reform processes and outcomes.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11110
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Political Science - Doctoral theses

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